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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales Rebound During May
by Tom Moeller  June 23, 2020

• New single-family home sales rose last month following three consecutive months of decline.

• Sales improved in most parts of the country.

• Prices increase modestly m/m.

Sales of new single-family homes increased 16.6% during May (12.7% y/y) to 676,000 (SAAR) after falling 5.2% in April to 580,000, revised from 623,000. Sales during March plummeted to 14.5% to 612,000, revised from 619,000. May sales were 12.7% below the expansion peak of 774,000 reached in January. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected sales of 634,000 during May.

Sales in the Northeast rose 45.5% both m/m and y/y to 32,000. In the South, sales increased 15.2% to 402,000 (6.3% y/y) and in the West sales improved 29.0% to 169,000 (31.0% y//y). Sales were down, however, by one-third versus the January peak. Running counter to these gains, Midwest sales fell 6.4% (+2.8% y/y) and were 24.7% below the January peak.

The median price of a new home increased to 4.9% to $317,900 in May (1.7% y/y) while the average price of a new home improved 4.7% (-2.7% y/y) to $368,800. Home prices, which are not seasonally adjusted, have been range-bound for the past few years.

The months' supply of homes on the market declined to 5.6 in May from an elevated 6.7 months in April. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market was 3.8, the longest since April 2018 and up from 2.7 months in October 2018.

New home sales activity and prices are available in Haver's USECON database, while MBA loan applications can be found in SURVEYW. The consensus expectation figure from Action Economics is available in the AS1REPNA database.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) May Apr Mar May Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total 676 580 612 12.7 685 614 616
  Northeast 32 22 23 45.5 30 32 40
  Midwest 73 78 77 2.8 72 75 72
  South 402 349 365 6.3 400 347 341
  West 169 131 147 31.0 183 160 164
Median Price (NSA, $) 317,900 303,000 331,800 1.7 319,267 323,125 321,633
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